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Reunion 2010 Takes First Steps at Going Green

By John Pumilio on May 21, 2010

Congratulations to this year’s Reunion 2010 team for making the time and effort to “green” this year’s Reunion. If all goes according to plan, then this year’s Reunion may be the greenest event in Colgate history. Sustainability initiatives will be highlighted on Friday, June 4, which organizers are calling “Green Day.”

Friday’s lunch BBQ, which is expected to serve 1,500 alumni and friends, will be the main event. This will be the first major event at Colgate where composting food scraps will be possible.

Composting significantly reduces the amount of waste Colgate sends to the landfill which not only saves money but also demonstrates environmental stewardship. At the landfill, decomposing food scraps release methane (a very potent greenhouse gas) and take up valuable and unnecessary landfill space. On the other hand, composting reduces transportation and labor costs, landfill tipping fees, and ultimately results in a valuable product that can be used in landscaping and gardening.

Recently, Colgate purchased four 157-gallon composting bins. The food scraps from Reunion will be placed in these bins and allowed to compost over the summer. The finished product will then be used at Colgate’s new organic vegetable garden to grow new vegetables for next year. Food scraps produced on campus will be used to grow food on campus helping to close the loop.

Green Day organizers will also be making a concerted effort to reduce landfill waste by encouraging recycling rates and composting. Efforts include the placement of 15-20 clearly labeled and conspicuous recycling bins in the tent area on Whitnall Field. Additionally, biodegradable/compostable cups, plates, napkins and utensils will be used throughout the day.

Colgate’s dining services will once again support local producers by purchasing and serving local food items whenever possible. They will also serve “right size” portions in order to reduce food waste.

Other “green” features of Reunion include:

  • A redesigned marketing program that reduced the amount and type of paper used. Organizers of Reunion reduced the January mailing from 36,000 pieces to 6,000 pieces. Emailing digital copies has been utilized more than in the past.
  • Alumni are being encouraged to select reusable containers or mugs as their class souvenir. Refillable water bottles will greatly reduce the number of disposable plastic water bottles used during the weekend.
  • Colgate will be using limo golf carts as much as possible in place of vans in order to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The use of pick-up pal ride share program will be promoted. Pick-up pal is a nation service that connects riders and drivers to a certain area. A Colgate Reunion page has been established to connect our alumni for rides to Reunion.

Organizers of Reunion 2010 consider these efforts a first step. In future years, organizers will continue to collaborate with Colgate’s Sustainability Office to build off this year’s success.

During Reunion 2010, please help us demonstrate to returning alumni that the Colgate community cares about our environment and the future health of the planet. Lessons learned this year will be invaluable as we move forward. Please let us know if you have other ideas that we can implement in future years.